Experts investigating Sarah Everard’s cause of death have carried out a second post-mortem on her body after the first examination proved inconclusive. The body of the 33-year-old was found last Wednesday in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, and was later identified as the missing Sarah Everard. Serving Metropolitan Police officer, 48-year-old Wayne Couzens from Deal in Kent, has been charged with her murder.
The second post-mortem, which reportedly took place at the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, Kent on request of the coroner rather than the police, happened yesterday afternoon, following the first one on Friday. Sarah Everard's body has now been released to her family so they can proceed with a funeral. An inquest was opened today into the death, but was immediately adjourned until after the trial, which has been set for October 25.
Speaking during the brief inquest this morning, Coroner Patricia Harding said: "All that remains is to express to the family watching today how very sorry I am for your loss." Sarah's family had tuned in via video link.
Sarah Everard was first reported missing on 4 March by her boyfriend, after he was unable to contact her following her walk home from a friend's house the night before. The 9pm walk from Clapham, London back to Sarah's home in Brixton should have taken her around 50 minutes, but she never made it back.
Upon the news the suspect being held in relation to Sarah Everard's disappearance was a serving police officer, last week Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave described it as "shocking and deeply disturbing".
"We will continue to work with all speed on this investigation," he said, adding: "I understand there will be significant public concern but it is essential that the investigative team are given the time and space to continue their work." It was also confirmed that "continued high levels of police patrols" would be taking place in that area of London.
Over the weekend, a vigil was held on Clapham Common, which was part of Sarah's route home on the night of her murder. Mourners including Kate Middleton visited the site with flowers and candles to pay their respects to Sarah Everard and to stand in solidarity for women’s safety. However, the vigil was later broken up by police, causing outcry.
Several politicians condemned the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the event, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said the footage of police arresting mourners was “unacceptable” and that he was “urgently seeking an explanation” from Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick. The Commissioner said she "wouldn't have wanted to see a vigil in memory of Sarah end with those scenes," but also also highlighted the difficulty faced by officers and said that she welcomed a review.
Our thoughts remain with Sarah Everard's family during this very difficult time.
Police invite anyone who has seen Sarah or who has information that may assist the investigation to call the Incident Room on 0208 785 8244, or via the Major Incident Portal.
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